At one point in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, the brainwashed, still suffering Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) tells the mockingjay Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence): “Our lives were never ours, they belong to Snow and our deaths do too. But if you kill him, Katniss, all those deaths, they mean something.” This is the fourth and final installment of The Hunger Games series, where Katniss realizes that she shouldn’t be just a mere symbol of the rebellion but a part of it. She joins the rebels to bring down the Capitol and her main goal is to kill Snow. But as she is closing in on that goal, she has to endure the unstable behavior of Peeta and her doubts on Coin’s propaganda.
The start of the film is not that remarkable, almost the same as what the first Mockingjay already displayed. Mockingjay – Part 2 as a conclusion to the series, is supposed to be bigger with its heavy theme of politics, war and rebellion. But it seems to lack something. The impact of the war is never felt as their unit go on their mission, with Snow’s tactics edging on the ridiculous. But the film makes a better case in the middle. It provides the proper amount of suspense and action sequences as the group went on their way to Snow’s mansion. There are exciting moments that are tightly paced combined with James Newton Howard’s aptly tenacious score that increases the sense of danger. One of the most intense parts involves the fight scenes underground with the mutts. As for the production value, they created great sets for the ruined buildings and the dark atmosphere in the sewers. The visual effect sequences are beautifully shot. And the intel Holo looks cool, by the way.
As usual, the distinctive quality of this series is the presence of a lot of high-caliber actors who ace their performances. It was good to see Philip Seymour Hoffman one last time, as this is his final film. Donald Sutherland is once again exceptional as the main antagonist. Jennifer Lawrence still did a good job in the portrayal of our heroine, brave but fragile at the same time. I will always admire her acting prowess in showing genuine emotion. I think Hutcherson as Peeta with his post-traumatic stress disorder is now at par with JLaw’s performance. But Liam Hemsworth as Gale felt bland for me, which made it clearer that the love triangle doesn’t really exists. It’s always just Katniss and Peeta. They are at the heart of this film. The emotional rift Peeta created in response to the trauma he suffered from the Capitol further manifested how they are both emotionally vulnerable which evokes heart-wrenching feelings from the audience. I love the drama in their game of “Real or Not Real”.
The final parts did a very interesting turn although it didn’t have a special effect on me. I don’t know, maybe because I have read the books? I was not greatly moved by the events that I expected to be more harrowing. But I still think that Mockingjay deserves praise in its take on the closing of the series. And I would very much like to hear the reactions of the viewers who haven’t read the books. Were they surprised? For me, everything is still satisfying—the whole franchise—compared to other young adult dystopian adaptations. Splitting the last book into two parts may not be necessary but they indulged fans like me and I enjoyed watching all of them. And you know that feeling? While looking at the credits and then walking out of the theater with a sigh as everything finally comes to a close? Proves how much invested I am to the series.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars